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2014 Illuminations no burden to Dales tax payers

Matlock Bath Illuminations - one of the region's top annual visitor attractions - has once again proved no burden to local Council Tax payers.

Early figures suggest that ticket sales from the 117th Illuminations have balanced the £136,500 Derbyshire Dales District Council spent organising the seven-week festival, which closed on 25 October.

Decorated boats on the Derwent at the 2014 IlluminationsAround 100,000 people poured into the area to enjoy the unique parade of decorated and illuminated boats every weekend - and the District Council's Derwent Gardens were packed for the special fireworks Saturdays.

District Council Deputy Leader Councillor Geoff Stevens MBE, who has compered the event for over 40 years, said:

"We were blessed by exceptional autumn weather this year, and that always helps numbers.

"We are at great pains to stress every year that our aim with the Illuminations is to provide a significant boost to the local economy, but at no cost to our Council Tax payers. It's great news that this target has been achieved."

Cllr Geoff Stevens MBEAny surplus from this year's festival could be reinvested to improve the Illuminations next time around, but Councillor Stevens stressed that future improvements weren't simply about financial investment.

"We have made it quite clear that the Illuminations, as with all the services we provide, are under review, and over the coming months we will be recapping on the feedback we've received from visitors to the 2014 season and looking at ways to move the event forward.

"There have been significant advances in recent years in terms of stewarding and online ticketing, but we are not complacent and always strive to improve the visitor experience year on year.

"One area where we need more help is from local traders, the majority of whom benefit enormously in the tourist season extension provided by the Illuminations. We'll be talking to them soon about the possibility of more of them playing an active role in an event that brings in such a huge number of visitors from outside the area."

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